Navigation Links
Only 5 percent of cancer research funds are spent on metastases, yet it kills 90 percent of all cancer patients

On average, about five percent of total cancer research funding is spent on investigating metastases (the spread of cancer cells around the body) in Europe, yet metastatic disease is the direct or indirect cause of 90 percent of all cancer deaths, according to an editorial in the European Journal of Cancer (EJC). [1]

The authors of the editorial, which introduces a special EJC issue on metastasis ("Stopping cancer in its tracks: metastasis as a therapeutic target"), highlight this discrepancy in funding and they believe that, although it is difficult to obtain accurate figures, the situation is probably similar in other countries such as the USA and Japan.

It has been known for some time that metastasis is the key problem in cancer and the main reason why people die from the disease. Until recently, the reasons why some people developed metastases and other did not had been unclear, but, as this special issue of the EJC shows, at last there are models and scientific hypotheses that have begun to unravel this process and the EJC reviews the state of the art in this respect. However, research into metastasis has not necessarily attracted the recognition it deserves from funding organisations.

Professor Jonathan Sleeman, one of the two guest editors of the EJC special issue and head of microvascular pathobiology research at the University of Heidelberg (Germany), said: "Metastasis is a process in cancer that is very poorly understood; it kills patients and therefore we believe that it should be funded better. Yet at the European level and, indeed, worldwide, comparatively little emphasis is placed on tackling metastases and in providing appropriate levels of funding for research."

He continued: "Given the clinical importance of metastasis for cancer patients, the limited treatment options for metastatic disease and the open question of how metastasis works, we need to know how much research funding is being directed at the problem and what proportion of funding for cancer research ends up focused on metastases? I have found it hard to obtain reliable figures, but although there is considerable variation between European countries, I estimate that the average spent on metastasis research is around 5% of total cancer research funding. Given that metastasis is of central importance to the prognosis and outcome of cancer patients, we could argue that in many countries more funding should be directed toward metastasis research."

Metastasis is the process by which cancer cells split off from the original, primary tumour and travel to other parts of the body via the blood or lymph systems. This leads to the growth of secondary tumours in places such as the bones, brain, lungs and liver, and it is usually these that end up killing the patient.

"Metastatic disease, therefore, represents a major public health problem, affecting cancer patients and their families, as well as health care systems and the broader economy. Despite this, progress in developing treatments for metastatic disease remains slow," write Prof Sleeman and the second guest editor, Professor Patricia Steeg (chief of the Women's Cancers Section, Laboratory of Molecular Pharmacology at the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, USA) in their editorial.

In addition to adequate funding, they call for:

  • effective translational research for metastatic disease, which will take discoveries made in the laboratory quickly into new and better treatments for cancer patients;
  • clinical trials to be designed so that they include information on metastases;
  • clinicians and scientists to work more closely together to design clinical trials that assess the development of new metastases.

"In summary, combating metastasis formation and growth is the key to successfully treating cancer," they conclude. "Traditional growth control approaches are inadequate and can even be detrimental in the long term: new therapies built upon a solid understanding of the process of metastatic disease are urgently required. In turn, this demands an increased pre-clinical knowledge base that capitalises on major conceptual advances made in recent years, as well as a rational approach to the design of clinical trials with the inclusion of metastasis as an end-point. Together these observations speak for the necessity of increasingly close interactions between basic and clinical scientists, as well as the enhanced levels of research funding required to alleviate this major clinical problem."

The EJC special issue on metastasis consists of a number of articles looking at the state of current knowledge about the disease and outlining promising areas of research. Prof Steeg said: "We hope that this special issue will highlight the fact that metastasis should be an important consideration during drug development. If more attention was paid to it, we could really improve treatments for cancer patients."


Contact: Emma Mason
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation

Related medicine news :

1. More than 30 Percent of Seniors Are Not Immunized Against Pneumonia in 36 States; New Report Finds Low Adult Vaccination Rates in U.S.
2. More than 30 percent of seniors are not immunized against pneumonia in 36 states
3. Survey: Over 40 Percent of Nurses to Alter Career Path
4. Saint Thomas Hospital Ranked Top Five Percent in Nation for the Second Consecutive Year According to Quality Study
5. More than 50 percent of injury-related deaths in rural Ontario occur before patients reach hospital
6. Study finds over 90 percent of people with gum disease are at risk for diabetes
7. Ninety Percent of All Vaccine Preventable Deaths Occur in Those 65 and Older According to Highlighted Studies in the December Patient Safety Advisory
8. American Red Cross Survey Finds 62 Percent of Americans Plan to Donate More Than $25 to Charity This Holiday Season in Spite of Economic Downturn
9. Disordered eating may affect 10 to 15 percent of women
10. Bella Sante Spas in Boston Reports Online Spending Rise of 12 percent December 1 to December 17, 2009
11. 83 Percent of Small Businesses Say No to Health Care Public Option, 89 Percent Say Government Cannot Provide Adequate Health Care
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... 2015 , ... An inventor, from Hopkinsville, Ky., thought there ... home, so he invented the patent-pending ELECTRONIC M.D. , The ELECTRONIC M.D. provides ... so, it could help to prevent potential overdose situations. As a result, it ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... ProSidebar: Fashion is ... Pro X. With ProSidebar: Fasion, video editors can easily add an informative sidebar ... minimalist title opener. Utilize presets featuring self-animating drop zones, lines, bars, and text ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... ... A simply groundbreaking television series, "Voices in America", which is hosted by ... of issues that are presently affecting Americans. Dedicated to providing the world with a ... the subjects consumers focus on, one episode at a time. , In the ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... the largest, most successful and prominent nonprofit healthcare organizations in the country. They ... involvement with various organizations, and helped advance the healthcare industry as a whole ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Patients at Serenity Point Recovery, a holistic ... Thanksgiving Day to share the things that they are most grateful for today. ... channel, patients displayed what they wrote on index cards, describing the things that ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... November 26, 2015 ... nieuwe aanpak combineert immunotherapie met Bremachlorin-photodynamische therapie ... ) --> ... (Photo: ) ... Medisch Centrum (LUMC) blijkt ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... DUBLIN , November 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... the addition of the "2016 Future ... Drugs of Abuse Testing Market: Supplier Shares, ... report to their offering. --> ... of the "2016 Future Horizons and ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... 26, 2015 ... of the  "2016 Future Horizons and ... Drug Monitoring (TDM) Market: Supplier Shares, ... Opportunities"  report to their offering.  ... the addition of the  "2016 Future ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: